While I’m not actively collecting anything these days, I still have a few small collections. But I started wondering if there was any rhyme or reason as to what I had collected. Why these things? And then it hit me!
But, let me back up and first tell you about some of my collections…
For a long time I bought old sterling silver smalls—baby cups, bowls, trophies, cigarette cases, etc. I envisioned book shelves full of this type of old family silver. That was my intent. To have trophies that celebrated past glories, the cigarette case used by Great Aunt Edith in the 1920s, the fanciful vesta cases when matches were valuable.
Here are a few of my favorite silver pieces. A little round sterling silver box initialed and dated Nov. 16, ’93 for 1893.
And this small lidded English trophy from the Imperial Tobacco Co. was won in 1929 by D. Scloss “Ogden.”
And antique Scottish horn cups were part of the collecting mix. They were earthy and beautiful and I imagined them being used out on the moors during a hike or hunt and later they’d be glowing on the mantel in the flames from the fireplace. (I bought them from a seller who sourced them on her Scotland buying trips!)
And woven wool paisley throws were kryptonite to me. Beautiful and warm. Perfect for throwing over the shoulders.
And I began to feel that no home was complete with artwork. Lots of artwork! Hung or propped. So paintings and lithographs have been on my radar for some time. I need to work on a better rearrangement for the pieces below but artists represented include: Irving Amen, Kevin Courter, Dorr Bothwell and Margaret Layton.
So what did these diverse collections have in common? Why was/am I drawn to these types of things?
My own childhood homes were small and humble. Our furniture serviceable. Things were new (bought at Sears Roebuck on “Monkey” Wards) or slightly worn hand-me-downs from my grandparents. But what my soul craved (starting in my teen years) were things with more age and history and a house brimming with them. So much later when I got to a place and time in life when I had a little disposable money, I began buying those things.
Here’s the look that likely inspired my collecting…
Designer Ralph Lauren’s manor house is a bit crowded for me but overall I love its intriguing textiles, artwork and bits. I would be happy curling up in this room and I’ll bet somewhere there’s a silver trophy or two!
And I like the casual jumble of books, artifacts and paintings in this room below. And of course having a beautiful rug is essential.
Truth be told my own home has never looked anything like an English manor house but I have enjoyed having wonderful older things around that pique my interest and touch my soul.
So what do your collections say about you? Are you trying to recapture your childhood? Recreate a happier time? Reinvent yourself? Or??? Would love to know!
The English Manor House Collection
Here are a few things from my Etsy store that would be fabulous for creating a manor house look. Click on the photo or caption to get more information.
Antique Barley Twist Candlesticks
Early 20th Century Harry Hambro Howe Ship Painting
Vintage Paisley Wool Shawl/Throw
Antique English Sterling Silver Cigarette Case
Happy hunting and collecting,
We had a pretty sparse house growing up. I was a collector of things…natural things, like feathers, bits of bark, stones, etc. After all, they were free! Now, I am not in the process of collecting anything in particular. We don’t NEED anything, after all.
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I love your revelation here! You may not have an English manor house, but you have so many clean-lined, MCM touches in the pictures you share for us. It would be hard to balance those two aesthetics! It’s great that you get to adopt the manor house furnishings (those candlesticks!!) for a while. Maybe that’s the best of both worlds.
My own collections are inspired by a bone-deep love for the shapes of animals – colorful Oaxacan carvings and a small collection of Howard Pierce pieces. Most of the art in the house also has either animals or trees (or both).
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Hi Lisa! You’re right…my art definitely is not English Manor House style! The aesthetic in our house really is “eclectic.”
Your collections sound fun and joyful!